Back Story

San Francisco photographer Sharon Beals selected specimens from three key collections of birds’ nests for her book Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds that Built Them (Chronicle Books, 2011).

“The idea took shape after I read Scott Weidensaul’s amazing book Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migrating Birds. He talks about the migratory hazards and habitat loss the birds face on their journeys. I had already been interested in native plants and habitat restoration, but his book inspired me to learn as much as I could about what birds need to survive, and what I do in my own life that affects the welfare of birds, even at a distance.”

This Swainson’s thrush nest was collected on June 29, 1925, by Joseph Grinnell, who started UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, where it is housed.